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Do Young Employees Want a Retirement Plan?

If you think a retirement plan doesn't matter to recent college graduates, think again.

When Philadelphia research and consulting firm Universum Communications surveyed more than 29,000 recent graduates, they found these graduates were pretty clear about what they wanted in a compensation package. In fact, the grads were more concerned about receiving good health insurance and retirement plans than vacations, bonuses and stock options. They're even wondering about insurance coverage for their dependents, though few in this age group have kids yet.

This year's graduates are much more realistic and pragmatic than their older siblings, who rode the dotcom wave. They've also been influenced by their baby boomer parents, who are panicking about retirement and don't want to see their kids fail to plan ahead, says Steve Rothberg, president of CollegeRecruiter.com, a Minneapolis-based career site for college students and graduates.

Their collective state of mind means you'll have to shift your mind-set, too. You'll have to offer a sense of security in the form of a good benefits package if you plan to hire and keep this new generation of workers. "Their time horizon for their career is not measured in years-it's measured in decades," Rothberg says. "They're more likely to be interested in a safety net."

Chris Penttila is a Washington, DC-based freelance journalist who covers workplace issues on her blog, Workplacediva.blogspot.com.

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This article was originally published in the August 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Forever Young?.

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